Market Report / Babylon Leads Gains for Technology Shares

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Technology, telecommunications and biotech shares all posted strong gains on Tuesday, led by Babylon’s 12.4% jump as the market rose in brisk trading.

Babylon rallied in heavy turnover of NIS 46.1 million after the online translation company said it was in talks to take over Israeli startup IronSource, a distributor of mobile applications estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Babylon offered no other details about the deal.

The TA-25 index of blue chips ended the day ahead 0.4% at 1,211.72 points, while the broader TA-100 added 0.6% to 1.105.49 on turnover of NIS 1.11 billion.

Other tech and biotech companies joined Babylon in the ride up. Given Imaging finished 7.1% higher after it received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its PillCam SB 3 to detect and monitor small bowel abnormalities. The pill will be available in the United States starting in the fourth quarter.

Biotech company Compugen climbed 11.2%, extending gains since announcing a cooperation deal with Bayer HealthCare.

Defense electronics maker Elbit Systems rose 3.7% after its second-quarter profits beat estimates. The company earned $1.19 per diluted share excluding one-time items, up from $1.14 a year earlier, as revenues grew to $702.9 million from $676.4 million. Elbit was forecast in a Reuters poll to earn 87 cents a share on revenues of $686 million.

Ormat Industries added 3.6%. The maker of geothermal power equipment posted a second-quarter net profit of $16 million, compared with $1.6 million a year ago. Revenues rose to $154.7 million from $129.8 million.

Telecommunications shares also ended sharply higher, with the TA-Telecommunications index climbing 3% to 683.41. Bezeq gained 3.6%, while Partner Communications added 1.5% and Cellcom Israel 1.8%.

Wall Street stocks opened lower on Tuesday while the dollar climbed to one-week highs after a gauge of U.S. consumer spending rose at its fastest pace in seven months.

European shares rose to 2-1/2-month highs after data pointed to an improving economic outlook across the region, but the optimism failed to carry over to Wall Street and world equity markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.3% at 15,369.61. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 0.2% at 1,685.93, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.3% at 3,658.36. Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index hit its highest level since May before pulling back to 1,234.75, up 0.4%on the day.

In foreign-currency trading, the dollar gained 0.14% to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.5500. The euro strengthened 0.13% to NIS 4.7194.

Israeli bank shares fell Tuesday, with Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank sliding 1.9% and Bank Hapoalim 1%. Terence Klingman, head of research at Psagot Investment House, said he expects Mizrahi to post a decline in second-quarter profits to NIS 220 million.

Real estate shares were higher as well, with the Real Estate 15 index up 1.2% to close at 365.33. Azrieli Group led the advance on a 2.9% gain as NIS 12.2 million shares changed hands. Melisron rose 3.1% and Gazit Globe 1.6%.

Allot Communications was the biggest loser for the day on theTA-100, closing 3.5% lower. The share was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform by RBC Capital Markets after it fell 18% in the past week and a half.

With reporting by Reuters.

Using Given Imaging technology in Japan.Credit: Bloomberg

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